The current public image of Latinas/os in the United States is that of the foreign, racialized outsider, too often labeled by the pejorative term of “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien” (Brimelow 1995; Johnson 1996; C. García 2012). This matters because such perceptions influence policy makers and can affect Latina/o rights under U.S. law, particularly within the immigration system (Johnson 2009; Lopez, Morin, and Taylor 2010). This negative image persists although three in four Latinas/ os are either U.S.-born (65 percent) or naturalized U.S. citizens (11 percent) (Krogstad and Lopez 2014). It is also true that immigration law and policy disproportionately impacts Latinas/os, who are the largest segment of the foreign-born group population in the United States (55 percent) and who represent 77 percent of the undocumented population. In 2012, Latinas/os were the largest minority group, totaling 54 million.

This essay may be found on page 118 of the printed volume.

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